My sump pump lives in a dark, dank hole in the basement. It is a lifestyle well-suited to his personality.
The old guy is a hard-case, a crusty, old school type who takes pride in doing what others refuse to do and because of this, he pretty much holds everybody and everything else in utter contempt.
There used to be a lot of characters like him around, no nonsense guys who were short on imagination, even shorter on conversation and scornful of any opinion other than their own.
They were a breed apart, who set themselves apart and staked their lives on knowing they were tough enough to take on what no one else could.
My guy spends his days in the basement brooding. There he waits sullenly, sometimes for months on end, for mother nature to paint the skies black from horizon to horizon and unleash her fury. Then as the gutters overflow, the ground swells, the walls weep and cracks in the floor gurgle freely, he throws back into her face, everything she throws at him.
It is not a glamorous career but he does it without complaint nor a desire for praise – because that is who he is.
But not long ago, a whole new wave of appliances appeared in our house.
Smart appliances – and they pissed him off.
Hunkered down in the depths of the basement, he eavesdropped on their chatter as they rambled on about things that were none of their business and ways of doing things that were none of their concern.
The smart coffee maker, the web enabled refrigerator, the programmable thermostat all had no concept of nor appreciation for the quiet hard working machines who lived below them. But it was not their brilliance that bothered him – rather what enraged him was that they were not intelligent enough to be humble.
He brooded upon this in his dark, dank hole and fumed at their petty dramas – until the day when mother nature again unleashed her fury.
And as the water rose – overwhelming the energy star humidifier, shorting out the smart hot water heater and flooding the geothermal unit, he laughed a hard cast-iron laugh and muttered, Screw it!
That was last week.
I had to wade down there and tell him I honored his service and to make a promise that convinced him to return to work.
In a few days, I will retire him to a dank corner of my shed on the bottom shelf of a large homemade wooden rack, where he will join the company of an old Briggs and Stratton engine, a few electric motors of dubious origin and the transaxle from an old Volkswagen beetle.
In his world – that is how one defines heaven.